Your support is critical to our success.
Origin and Habitat: Borneo (Sabah)
Altitude: Up to about 400 m a.s.l.
Habitat: Areca rheophytica is an undergrowth palm that, as the name states, is clearly a rheophyte plant (aquatic plant that lives in fast moving water currents, such as in a stream or river, in an environment where few other organisms can survive) that grows in river banks on ultrabasic rocks.
Remarks: Only a few palms have been described as rheophytes, among them Pinanga rivularis and Pinanga tenella from Borneo, Chamaedorea cataractarum from Mexico, Geonoma linearis from Colombia and Ecuador, Dypsis crinita and Ravenea musicalis both from Madagascar.
- Areca rheophytica J.Dransf.
Description: Areca rheophytica is a small but most elegant solitary palm with arched feather like fronds.
Stems: Finger-like glabrous, pale brown up to 2 m tall and 1-1.5(-2) cm in diameter. With inconspicuous nodal scars about 3-5 mm hight, internodes 2-4 cm apart.
Crownshaft: 20-30 cm tall, 2-4 cm wide, enlarged and green.
Crown: With 7-8 leaves.
Leaves.. Up to to 60 cm long, petiole short about 8-15 cm long, pinnae (leaflets) 12-22 regularly arranged on each side of the rachis, single ribbed, very close, dark green. Sheaths usually less than 25 cm, smooth when fresh, drying
Inflorescence: Erect usually less than 22 cm, The rachillae (flower-bearing branches) slender, very numerous,up to 120 mm long and 1 mm in diameter. Flowers grouped in one to several basal triad, otherwise bearing paired staminate flowers in a single row on one side. Staminate flower (male) creamy-white, lemon-scented; Pistillate flower (female) at anthesis about 11 x 3 mm tipped with 3 short stigmas.
Fruit: Narrow-ellipsoidal, approx 20 x 7 mm, pale green turning bright-red at maturity, mesocarp about 2-5 mm thick.
Seed: Spindle-like approx 15 x 5 mm.
Bibliography: Major references
1) J.Dransf. "Areca rheophytica", Kew Bull. 39(1) : 18-19 (1984)
2) Dennis Victor Johnson “Palms: An Action Plan for Their Conservation” IUCN, 1996. Page 4
Cultivation and Propagation: This is an excellent understory palm very highly sought after by palm collectors, but scarcely known in cultivation.
Soil: They prefers well draining, porous soils rich in humus. (but can even grow in soggy terrain).
Light: They do well in shade or half-sun spots, but keep their best deep green colour in full shade, if indoors place in a luminous position. Seedlings like a more sheltered area.
Watering: In cultivation they appreciates abundant waterings. During the summer or warmer months, water frequently to keep the soil from drying out.
Fertilization: Need a perfect fertilizer diet including all micro nutrients and trace elements or slow release fertilizer. Apply fertilizer 3 times a year, in spring, summer and fall...and if the palm is planted in full sun, fertilize more often. In a full sun location the fronds tend to turn lime-green or yellow, so the extra fertilization helps prevent this discolouration.
Hardiness: It can be difficult to get it to look its best without a great amount of heat and sun and so it is only really suited to the tropics in frost-free regions (USDA Zones 11-12)
Maintenance: These palms aren't considered self-cleaning but you'll only need to trim off an old frond occasionally.
Garden uses: It is rarely cultivated, but is an excellent understory palm if you can water it regularly. It is ideal where garden space is limited and a small plant is required. It can be grow indoors in a container for years before out growing the pot, but looks much better when planted in the ground and will thrive if given a spot in shade.
Propagation Method: Seed.
|Back to Areca index|
|Back to Arecaceae index|
|Back to Palms And Cycads Encyclopedia index|